Future residents of the proposed teacher housing complex slated for development in the Sunset District could have their tenancies capped at seven years, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.
In an effort to address school district vacancies and high teacher turnover as a result of San Francisco’s high rents, The City and the San Francisco Unified School District joined forces in developing the Francis Scott Key Annex — a district-owned plot of land at 1351 42nd Ave. — into up to 150 affordable homes specifically for educators.
The City has committed $44 million in public funds toward the project, and details of the plan are beginning to emerge.
At a informational meeting Nov. 8, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development conducted a question-and-answer session with prospective developers to lay out guidelines and expectations for the project’s design, financing and submittal requirements.
Among the expectations for the winning developer is coming up with a plan for transitioning teachers out of the housing complex once their tenancies are up, which could limited to seven years.
“We figure seven years is a long enough time to get established, save money and learn about what the options are and then make it available for somebody else,” said Susan Solomon, executive director of the teachers union United Educators of San Francisco. The union’s leaders, along with other stakeholders, helped inform the request for proposals process for the project.
Construction for the development would not begin until 2019, but first steps in the search for a development team were taken last month when the Mayor’s Office issued the proposals request. Candidates have until Jan. 12 to submit their responses, and a contract is expected to be awarded in March.
The project comes amid an affordability crisis that, along with other contributing factors, has left the school district with 664 vacancies in the 2016-17 school year. If successful, the project could become a model for additional future housing development targeting educators.
“I hope that this is just the beginning and that we see many more projects coming forward,” said Board of Education Commissioner Matt Haney, also a candidate in the supervisorial race for District 6.
The goal of the project is to help teachers remain housed in San Francisco. The proposed housing development, however, would only offer a temporary reprieve for teachers.
Of the proposed homes, 60 percent will be set aside for teacher households earning between 60 percent and 130 percent of the area median income. The rest of the units will house para-educators making 60 percent of the AMI. According to the latest figures set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a person who earns $80,700 annually is considered 100 percent of the AMI in San Francisco.
The latter will be financed by low-income federal tax-credits, and those tenancies are not subject to limited terms. However, the portion of the units dedicated to teachers is not financed by the tax credits, and could turn over after seven years.
“It is anticipated that educators in units not financed with low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC), as applicable, will have a limited tenancy of up to seven years in order for the program to serve as many educators as possible,” reads the RFP.
“The goal is to be able to reach as many educators as possible with a meaningful housing solution,” Haney said. “The hope is that it provides affordable stable housing for a longer term, though temporary period of time [during which] we can support them to find homeownership or another permanent solution.”
Developers are reportedly expected to collaborate with the Mayor’s Office and the district to create “early assistance strategies to help educators transition to new housing opportunities at the end of their tenures.” These strategies could include tapping into The City’s down-payment assistance loan programs, financial literacy or homeownership counseling.
A survey of some 2,000 SFUSD educators conducted by Stanford University in May revealed that 32 percent of the respondents paid more than 40 percent of their income in rent, and some 15 percent of the teachers paid more than half of their income in rent.
Of those surveyed, a majority of the respondents ranked rental subsidies, or financial allowances to support rent, over a dedicated housing development as the preferred housing service. But the district has had difficulties with finding sufficient funding for rental subsidies, said Haney, adding that he supports the housing service.
“We, as school districts, don’t have a source of revenue for subsidies,” he said. “It’s a question of whether The City can secure additional resources and funding streams.”